Appeal for $50K fails
An appeal to Kamloops council wasn’t enough to secure a seniors’ group $50,000 in funding that it says is critical to keeping its activity centre in the Brock Shopping Centre open for the rest of the year.
Members of the Centre for Seniors Information asked council this week to reconsider what they said would be a one-time grant application.
Alan Robertson, centre president, and director Ryan Scorgie said the group opened its new activity centre in February and is seeing 40 to 50 visitors per day.
However, renovating the space used up much of the centre’s private donation fund, which hasn’t yet been replenished.
In addition, some provincial funding the centre was expecting wasn’t renewed.
While the centre has applied for a gaming grant from the province, Robertson said the group has to deliver a year’s worth of programming at the activity centre before it qualifies.
Money from the city would help cover rental costs until that funding kicks in.
“We’re just asking for funds to be able to get to that position,” he said.
While there is a reserve fund for the activity centre, Robertson said the group is hoping to use that money to develop more programs for users, rather than for rent.
Robertson said the centre was designed based on seniors’ requests and has proved popular in part because it’s viewed as more independent than activity centers attached to seniors’ housing complexes.
He also argued the centre is of value to the city because seniors who are social live longer and are more resistant to dementia.
”Dignity is a lot more than money. It’s having a sense of purpose, It’s about people connecting to people,” he said.
“It takes a place, a centre, to make that connection possible.
“And to have that place requires funding.”
Many councillors said the worth of the project wasn’t the issue.
“We don’t have $50,000 in our budget to bail out any operation, no matter how worthy they are,” said Tina Lange.
“I think they have to come down with a different ask.
“Maybe a smaller about of money.”
Pat Wallace said the group should be encouraged to apply to the city next year before budget talks wrap up, with more information on how it plans to finance the centre.
However, Wallace added, the centre will have to get through 2012 without city help.
“I’d like to do something nice for them but, other than use my money out of my own wallet for them, I can’t,” she said.
“They are worthy and it would be a wonderful facility, but we don’t have any money.”
Ken Christian, one of several councillors who sits on the service agreement committee that rejected the centre’s initial grant request, said he hadn’t seen a “business case” for the centre, noting its initial application didn’t include enough information.
Christian agreed with Wallace that the group should apply again next year.